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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Team > Grace Abena Akese

G_Akese Headshot Grace Abena Akese
G_Akese Headshot

I am a geographer and discard studies scholar interested in waste geographies and political economies. I focus on the geographies of electronic waste (e-waste). My doctoral research examined the controversies surrounding Agbogbloshie, a scrap market in Accra, Ghana, that has become a popularized site of e-waste advocacy and science. I investigated the knowledge-making practices central to representations of informal e-waste hubs such as Agbogbloshie as “problem spaces” in need of interventions. I explore how advocacy groups, institutions (academic scholars), and individuals frame the content and relevance of knowledge about informal e-waste sites to elicit certain forms of interventions and how, within this context, the knowledge they produce itself becomes a site of struggle around which contentious politics take place. I employ a discard studies sensitivity to studying the geographies of e-waste, which means attention to not only the material stuff of waste but the wider social, cultural economic, and political infrastructures within which the material stuff of waste is produced and circulate. My research takes waste as infrastructure, thus accounting for the geographies constituted in and through it and what they make besides waste. 

G_Akese Headshot

Geographical scholarship interested in the spatialities of e-waste asks where e-waste travels, who works with it, and under what conditions. Empirical research across the "global south" shows that instead of trails of e-waste leading to dumpsites overflowing with debris, the paths of discarded electronics also leads to production sites where electronics are transformed and recirculated through reuse, repair, repurposing, and remanufacturing activities. Joining the African Cluster of Excellence, I build on my past geographical work on e-waste by exploring the relational entanglements of e-waste geographies as they manifest in ideas and practices of circular economies (ethical design, repair, reuse, care & maintenance, and marker space cultures). 

For a list of publications, please click here.

G_Akese Headshot

Grace Abena Akese
Postdoctoral Researcher- RS Mobilities (Project: Planned obsolescence, circular economies and ecologies of electronic devices in transdisciplinary perspective)

Office: 'Zapf-Gebäude’ 2 (Nürnberger Straße 38)

E-mail: Grace.Akese@uni-bayreuth.de

Webmaster: Dr. Doris Löhr

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